When I heard Angelus was being brought back from the horological dead, I was thrilled. I was also hopeful that the big guys upstairs shared the vision of a modern wristwatch tapping into its roots. Yet Angelus’ debut wristwatch, the U10 Tourbillon Lumiere, is unlike any Angelus seen before.
Aesthetically, it's exciting. The colors, or minimalistic lack there of, are provocative. The matte annealed stainless steel case grounds the very contemporary shape. The lugs, although distinct, do not detract focus from the dial. And the black alligator strap introduces balance to the design by adding a natural, exotic element to a very forward thinking piece.
Mechanically, the U10 is very impressive. It houses an in-house manual-wind caliber with a 90-hour power reserve. This piece features hours, minutes, dead beat seconds, and a killer flying tourbillon.
The inclusion of a dead beat seconds function is more than a point to boast--it has significance. Angelus claims the dead beat seconds, which gives the second hand a quartz-like motion as opposed to a typical sweeping motion, is homage to 18th century pocket watches. However, might it their way of settling an old score with the quartz technology that ran them out of the business 30 years ago? Maybe their way of saying “You won the battle but we’ll win the war”? Don't count it out.
Yes, I’m a vintage guy and I would have loved to see traditional watchmaking fastened behind a snap back case. Even though that is not what Angelus has delivered, it might still be what they’re communicating: A message of a reversion of the cultural focus right back to watches that stand on mechanical merit, not celebrity endorsement. Housing an accentuated tourbillon beside a dead beat seconds function and powering it all by an in-house manual-wind surely does that. The more I think about it, the more I like it. Sure, I could be romanticizing Angelus’ rebirth but we should all expect a whole lot of watch to come from Angelus, the new old guys.